Bosnia – Mostow & Going to Sarajevo

7 08 2005
Im writing this post after coming back from Bosnia to croatia – tomorrow i head on to the island of hvar. Im at an internet stant in The American Dream Cafe. Its filled with american kitch, from neon sighns to pictures of the statue of liberty snd a lifesize highway police officer -im the only foreighner in here-  when i ordered a coffee here they brought me a turkish one – oviously the tast of the local clientele who inhabit this cafe… One thing ive noticed whilst traveling the east is the universal fascination with the west. Anything western is instantly cool, hip and happening. It seems to represent coolness, success, abundance and a better life. Ive seen many similarly named cafes over here from bar hollywood, to cafe dallas etc. Its as if the owners are trying to capture some of the magic glow the west incites in people here.
Just before i left australia i had got a mowhawk haircut , it was a bit more extreme than i would have liked as i thought that although it was cool in australia i would look like (even more) of a freak overseas. But the other night out in Mostow/Bosnia it was the most common haircut! People in Bosnia are right up there with their fashion. trying as best their meagre incomes will allow to emulate the west. In mostow People were walking between bullet riddled buildings, wearing their latest style jeans and christina dior sunnies.
 
The cafe i am in is filled with locals, i imagine going through the motions they must see on their tv screens. The importance of television should not be underestimated. although people were living above and below bombsites, and couldnt afford to fix up the bullet riddled houses they lived in most had "shelled out" and bought sattelite dishes attached to their homes so they could pick up the forieghn televeision shows. This kind of outlay to see forieghn movies is indicative of the fascination particularly in bosnia. Interestingly ive seen less satelites in croatia, which has a higher standard of living. Perhaps the more depressing ones surroundings the greater the need for escapism from ones surroundings. So they dress as they see on the televisions and are here in the american dreams cafe, doing what i suppose they think westerners do – drinking their budweiser and smoking marlboros. But paradoxically by doing so they only reinforce the differences between themselves and the west. Westerners do not try to imitate and emulate someone else, they are not straining to be something else- we just are.  We dont think about trying to be western. As long as eastern europe is consciously trying to be western theyll never really be westerners.  Because in their attempts is a hidden admission that they really are not "western" and are displaying their feelings of inferiority for their own position.
 
Anyway dubrovnik was beautiful and their were lots of tourist sights to see, but that brought heaps of tourists and in some ways their influences have marred the uniqueness of dubrovnik (see last post). We decided to head somewhere more off the tourist track – mostow in Bosnia.  When we got there our first sights were of ugly buildings pock-marked with bullet holes, the obvious sighns of war increased the further in with bullet holes scaring every surface and large burnt out shells of buildings transformed into a testament of the recent strife that engulfed this region. We found accomadation with a nice old lady who insisted of speaking to us in german – even though none of us knew any german. Then we  went out to see mostow. I’ve never been anywhere like it before – the sighns of war were everywhere, burn out buildings, bullet – riddled buildings and the gaping holes left by artillery. What i found interesting was the way people lived in a battlefield. People carried on in spiteof their macabre surroundings similar to other parts of europe. We walked past a hairdreser where the level above had been blown appart. Their were bridal shops next to the shattered buildings. The most interesting for me was an outside cafe, similar to those in spain and croatia which was built on the first level the skeleton of a building, people sat, laughing, drinking and listening to american pop music – apparently oblivious to their surroundings.   Their were also lany less tourists throughout the city which was refreshing. The tourists who were in mostow congregated around the old bridge, that seperated the different ethnic groups (bosniak, croat and serb) which were trying to wipe each other out as recently as 1995 the only real "tourist" attraction in mostow.  The other noticable sights were the abundance of gorgeous women. It was ridiculous how many stunners were roaming the streets – without boys in tow.  This led to a unanimous and enthusiastic decision to check out the nightlife in mostow. That night when we got to the old town their was some of the best nightlife i’ve come accross – because the entire young population of mostow was concentrated around two bars. Their were so many people the party spilled out and engulfed about 100 meters of street as well. I don’t know what they put in the water in mostow.. but it does the girls there a world of good. By far the largest grouping of stunners ive seen. We had a good night socialising with the people on the streets.
 
 When we arrived in mostow, i decided i wanted to see more of Bosnia and that i’d go to Sarajevo. The the other boys decided to head back to croatia and hit the beaches of korcula. While Korcula is supposed to be quite pretty, Ićm already sick of the tourists around such beach resort islands and ićm probably going to be doing a few of them with the boys. I decided I still wanted to see more of Bosnia and that id go on to Sarajevo by myself.
 
However during the prevous night in Mostow i met a fascinating guy called Dave. He is

one of the most knowledgable and interesting people ive ever met. I wont give you a description of dave: suffice to say hes very interesting and if u wanna know more check out his blog by clicking here. Turned out we were staying at the same pension. Anyway after a night out in mostow (see previous post) id lost the other guys and came back with him, we ended up having a long chat and turned out he was going to sarajevo as well with another guy nick – who has been traveling for the last 3 yearspretty much straight, has been everywhere and is bloody intelligent (he also has been doing this with a bag not much bigger than a standard school backpack, so i hooked up with these two intriguing charecters and traveled out to sarajevo…
 
The scenery on the journey was amazing – our bus wided through pristine,mountainous pineforersts. The river alongside the bus for most of the trip was a brilliant aqua- ive never seen natural water that colour before. Small cotteges dotted the countryside beside huge lakes – it was like traveling through a postcard. Its such a pity that during the war both sides covered the countryside with mines, making travel through the forests unsafe. They robbed the rest of the world of a beutiful countrside and themselves of a valuable source of income – even more poignant given that Bosnia has nearly no industries.
 
Anyway im running out of time on the internet so ill move through sarejevo quickly. We met the cousin of the lady we stayed with in mostow and she took us to our room which was about 100 meters from sniper alley (a notorious stretch of road where serbian snipers indiscriminantly killed men women and children for the length of the war)  then me and dave went off to  check out the sarajevo tunnel museum while nick went to the hospital (he was having pains in his chest turned out to be fine). We were lucky in we got the chance to talk to the family of the house where the tunnel was built, i forget the name fo the guy we spoke too but during the war he had been on the front line and then had come back to help building the tunnel at his home. Then we checked out the holiday inn (significant during the war) and then went for awalk through the town. the war damage was obvious in sarajevo but not nearly as bad as in mostow. Although on the ground "sarajevo roses" were another reminder of what had happened here. these were shell craters filled with red cement whenever anyone had been killed by that shell. They were all over the city. Checked out the mosque and also the latin bridge where gavrillo princip killed franz ferdinand (precipitating ww1)  – for such a significant bridge there wasnt even a plaque comemorating it! we walked over it and thought it couldnt be it because there wasnt a plaque or anything  – i mean this bridge was where ww1 started and they hadnt commemorated it at all! shows that tourism isnt yet being fully milked as an industry in bosnia anywway. One of the most memorable parts ofsarajevo will be my conversations with my travel companions (and listening in when i realised i was clearly out of my depth), both these guys were incredibly knowledgable and the more i got to know them the more impressed i was.
unfortunately this interet is coin operated and the bar has run out of coins..its about to log me off but  i have more to write, oh wel. Bosnia was a fantastic experience and im really glad i went. anyway tomorroww im heading on to hvar to meet up with the boys again. 
 
 
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2 responses

10 08 2005
How youuuu doing

I love reading what you\’ve written. I find it very beautiful and poignant. Keep safe.

14 08 2005
Scott

hey bro, be cool!Sounds like everything is very insightful and enjoyable, wanted to let u know i am thinking about u and hope to sit down and have an intercontinental convo VERY sooN!Peace wit u bro!Scotty

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